The Lod District Court on Thursday sentenced two West Bank Palestinians to life in prison for murdering their Israeli boss in a terror attack last year.
Yousef Kamil and Mohammed Abu al-Rub stabbed and beat Reuven Schmerling to death in his coal warehouset located in the northern Arab Israeli city of Kafr Kassem last October.
The indictment against Kamil and al-Rub said the pair decided to “carry out an attack for nationalistic reasons and cause the death of Jews.” Prosecutors said Kamil and al-Rub’s attack was premeditated, with both seeking revenge for their friend who was killed a year earlier attempting to carry out an attack.
They were convicted by the Lod court in March after taking a plea bargain.
At Thursday’s sentencing, the judge also ordered Kamil and al-Rub to pay Schmerling’s family NIS 258,000 in compensation.
Outside the courtroom, Schmerling’s daughter, Idit, praised the judge for imposing the maximum sentence on her father’s killers. She said her family could now focus their efforts on building a synagogue in memory of her father in their settlement of Elkana.
In September 2017, Kamil and al-Rub entered Israel to find work even though neither had a work permit. They were hired by Schmerling to work illegally.
Kamil convinced al-Rub to carry out a stabbing attack, and they chose Schmerling to be their victim due to a number of work disputes and general antipathy toward him.
Just before 10 a.m. on October 4, the day before the start of the Sukkot festival, Schmerling knocked on the door of a room in the storage facility where Kamil and al-Rub were staying to ask for their help in a task, and they lured him inside by telling him that their refrigerator wasn’t working.
As al-Rub distracted him, Kamil took out the knife and began stabbing him in the back and then in the stomach. Al-Rub then got a pickax and attacked him with it. The pair also beat him with a fan.
Schmerling fought back, hitting Kamil in the leg with a chair, but he was overpowered. He sustained stab wounds to his back, chest, stomach, head, arms and legs, according to court documents.
His body was found later that day in one of the business’s storage units by his son, who alerted police and emergency services.